Wednesday, August 22, 2012



This is what Todd Akin had to say the other day.

Akin, Missouri Republican candidate for the US Senate, was speaking about what he termed "legitimate rape" but I suspect, this is more likely to be the female voter approach to the GOP in 2012.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


To support Marriage Equality, vote YES on Question Six.

On August 20, 2012 The Maryland State Board of Elections assigned a number to the Marriage Equality Referendum and issued the ballot language.

The Marriage Equality Referendum is QUESTION 6 on the Nov 6, 2012 Ballot.

Question Six reads:
Civil Marriage Protection Act

Establishes that Maryland’s civil marriage laws allow gay and lesbian couples to obtain a civil marriage license, provided they are not otherwise prohibited from marrying; protects clergy from having to perform any particular marriage ceremony in violation of their religious beliefs; affirms that each religious faith has exclusive control over its own theological doctrine regarding who may marry within that faith; and provides that religious organizations and certain related entities are not required to provide goods, services, or benefits to an individual related to the celebration or promotion of marriage in violation of their religious beliefs.

To support Marriage equality, vote YES on Question Six.

Friday, August 17, 2012

"For All the Children" - Support Marriage Equality

Catholics and friends gathered to sing their hearts out in support of LGBTQ young people. 

Lay Catholic Christians are standing up and singing out to spread the good news of Christ's love. 

To download the beautiful song, composed by David Lohman, please go to


Wednesday, August 15, 2012


During a promotion ceremony, August 11, 2012, at Arlington National Cemetery, a proud wife placed a star insignia on her spouse's uniformed shoulder — the official mark of an Army brigadier general. 

The placing of the star insignia was preceded by this announcement: “Col. Smith's partner, Miss Tracey Hepner.”

The audience burst into applause.

Brig. Gen. Tammy Smith now wears the star insignia on her uniform - pinned there by her spouse. 

General Tammy Smith is the first openly gay general in the United States Army.

Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta posted a YouTube video thanking gay service members and praising the ban’s repeal. 

In June, 2012 the Pentagon hosted a Gay Pride Month event. 

In July, 2012 members of the military wore their uniforms during a San Diego gay pride parade.

For more: With promotion, U.S. Army welcomes first openly gay general -

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


"What's distinctive about Catholics and politics is our ancient idea of the common good. We measure that by how the working class and poorest among us are doing."
"Government, for us Catholics, is obliged to be caring. It's obliged to serve and to help build the country as whole. President Obama 'gets' this at a deep level."
So said Stephen Schneck, director of the Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies at Catholic University of America.

Schneck has joined a number of other prominent Catholics as national co-chairs for "Catholics for Obama"

The complete list:
Former State Rep. Polly Baca, Colorado
Ambassador Elizabeth Frawley Bagley, Washington, D.C. 
Rep. Xavier Becerra, California 
Nicholas Cafardi, Pennsylvania 
Former Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper, Pennsylvania 
Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro, Connecticut 
Sen. Dick Durbin, Illinois 
Miguel Foster, Michigan 
Thomas Groome, Massachusetts 
Rep. Marcy Kaptur, Ohio 
Victoria Reggie Kennedy, Massachusetts 
Victoria Kovari, Michigan 
Sr. Jamie Phelps,  Louisiana 
Gov. Martin O'Malley, Maryland 
Former Rep. James Oberstar,  Minnesota 
Lawrence Parks, Washington, D.C. 
Fred Rotondaro, Washington, D.C. 
Rep. Tim Ryan, Ohio 
Stephen Schneck, Washington, D.C. 
John Sweeney, Maryland 
Mark Tuohey, Washington, D.C.


Obama campaign unveils its 'Catholics for Obama' 2012 team | National Catholic Reporter

Monday, August 13, 2012

British Catholic Leaders Support Marriage Equality Legislation

The Times of London on August 13, 2012, published a letter from prominent Catholics, who support civl marriaige equality:

“Not all Catholics share their hierarchy’s stated views against proposals to extend civil marriage to same-sex couples. Nevertheless, the submission by the Catholic Bishops of England & Wales to the Government’s equal civil marriage consultation indicates a growing understanding about legislating for same-sex unions, compared with its 2003 position, when it firmly opposed civil partnerships.
“It seems to us, as Catholic laity, theologians and clergy, important to uphold some key pastoral care principles used by the Catholic Church in England & Wales. Its 1979 guidelines stated that the Church has a serious responsibility to work towards the elimination of any injustices perpetrated on homosexuals by society.
“In 1997 Cardinal Hume wrote that love between two persons, whether of the same sex, or of a different sex, is to be treasured and respected. This respect demands that such loving relationships be afforded social recognition according to social justice principles.

"He proposed three criteria for considering issues of social policy: 
  • are there reasonable grounds for judging that the institution of marriage and the family could, and would be undermined by a change in law? 
  • would society’s rejection of a proposed change be more harmful to the common good than the acceptance of such a change? 
  • does a person’s sexual orientation or activity constitute, in specific circumstances, a sufficient reason for treating that person in any way differently from other citizens?
"We suggest that it is perfectly proper for Catholics, using fully informed consciences, to support the legal extension of civil marriage to same-sex couples."

The signers of this letter include: James Alison (theologian & priest), Tina Beattie (theologian), Mary Grey (theologian), Bernard Lynch (priest), Martin Pendergast (Chair, Centre for the Study of Christianity & Sexuality).


British Catholic Leaders Support Marriage Equality Legislation « Bondings 2.0

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Polls Show "Catholics Lead the Way on Same Sex marriage"

“Nearly six-in-ten white non-Hispanic Catholics (59%) favor allowing gays and lesbians to marry, as do 57% of Hispanic Catholics.” 
These are among the findings of a poll conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life and the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press.

The poll was summarized and explained in a statement from the Pew Research Center:
"[T]here has been a rise in support for gay marriage across many demographic groups, even those who have traditionally been the most opposed."
"A large portion of the growth in acceptance of gay marriage over the past two decades is the result of generational replacement — the arrival of younger, more supportive generations making up a larger share of the population. But the pace of change in support for gay marriage has increased in recent years across generational lines."

Pew Forum: Steep Rise in Support for Gay Marriage

The Washington Post, July 31, 2012:
Pew poll shows rising support for gay marriage

The Washington Post, March 21, 2012:
Catholics lead the way on same-sex marriage

A Tax Plan that "Defies the Rules of Math"

DAVID FIRESTONE, in the New York Times (Aug 12 2012) concludes that Mitt Romney's tax proposals amount to "
A Tax Plan That Defies the Rules of Math."

Here we go:

"Mr. Romney wants to keep all the Bush tax cuts, then cut taxes much further, particularly for the rich, but he says the plan won’t grow the deficit by a dime. He won’t say how he will accomplish this — there are no real numbers in his plan beyond a vague pledge to eliminate some loopholes."  
"Mr. Romney’s tax proposal is no different from any other aspect of his economic plan.He promises to cut nondefense spending by 5 percent, but won’t tell voters what programs that will affect. He wants to repeal all of President Obama’s regulations that burden the economy, but won’t say which ones. And he pledges to eliminate health care reform, but won’t discuss how or even whether he would replace it." 
"Mr. Romney said the cuts would be “revenue neutral” and cost nothing because they would be paid for by ending tax breaks and loopholes. He never identified those tax breaks . . ." 
"On issue after issue, the dominant theme of Mr. Romney’s plan is a refusal to make real choices. He talks endlessly about his 59-point plan “to get America back to work,” but you can scrutinize all 160 pages of his economic booklet without finding any evidence of decision-making." 
"The plans Mr. Ryan submitted as House budget chairman — which are now Mr. Romney’s too — were never models of clarity, but they at least made his priorities quite stark: more than three-fifths of his cuts would come from low-income programs like job training, Pell grants and food stamps." 
"Mr. Romney has also vowed to repeal any Obama regulation that might burden the economy, without telling us which ones. Could he mean the power-plant rule that keeps mercury out of children’s lungs, perhaps? Or the one requiring better brakeson big trucks? Or the one expanding disability protections to people with AIDS or autism?" 


Romney’s Tax Plan Defies the Rules of Math -

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

WJZ TV - "Catholic Parents with Gay Children Are Now Urging Voters to Approve Marriage Equality This November"

Excerpts from WJZ, Baltimore, Aug 7-8, 2012:

Tuesday, parents with gay children spoke out, seeking support despite religious conflict. [. . .] 

Jenny Nugent: 

“Each life, whether son or daughter, is precious and they deserve a full life, including marriage.” 
Erma Durkin also has a gay son. She considers the issue one of religious freedom:

“What churches decide to do, what marriage they solemnize, is up to them.” 
Catholic parents with gay children are now urging voters to approve marriage equality this November. [. . .] They’re supported by high-profile Catholics like former Lt. Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend:

“Marriage equality is really consistent with what the Catholic Church over 2,000 years has tried to teach.” 

Baltimore City Councilman Bill Cole:

“While I would certainly prefer my church recognize same-sex couples, the legislation’s referendum doesn’t impose anything on the Catholic church or any other.” 

The most recent poll shows marriage equality winning by 14 points.

[. . .]

Despite the Catholic Church’s opposition to same-sex unions, the archdiocese says they will not contribute any money to the political campaign against it.

Economists estimate same-sex weddings could boost Maryland’s economy by $90 million a year.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


The recently passed Civil Marriage Protection Act assures that all the citizens of Maryland enjoy the same civil right to go to the courthouse and obtain a marriage license.

To read the text of Maryland's Civil Marriage Protection Act, click here.

Here are the problems with opposition to civil marriage equality for all Marylanders:

The effort to deny the civil right to a marriage license has no purpose other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in Maryland.
The effort to deny the civil right to a marriage license has no other effect than to take away from some citizens the important and legally significant designation "marriage."
The effort to deny the civil right to a marriage license has no legitimate reason behind it. Under the present law, no church, no pastor will be required to conduct a wedding ceremony contrary to the doctrines or the procedures of any given church or denomination. 
Voting to restrict the civil rights of others is repellant to our democracy.

Friday, August 3, 2012





1.“Like” Catholics for Marriage Equality Facebook page; post comments; share content with your friends.

2. Tell five other Catholics about the campaign for civil marriage equality in Maryland.

3. Share this blog address on Facebook and Twitter

4. Display a Catholics for Marriage Equality bumper sticker on your car, computer case, cubicle, stroller, walker, or umbrella. If you need a bumper sticker, post a comment at this blog, asking for one and we will get one to you.

5. Wear a Catholics for Marriage Equality button to Mass. If you need a button, post a comment at this blog, asking for one and we will get one to you.

6. Allow your button and bumper sticker to start conversation about your journey as a Catholic supporting civil marriage for same-sex couples

7. Volunteer to be a contact person in your parish for Catholics for Marriage Equality Maryland; post your willingness at this blog, with your e-mail address and/or other contact info. We will be in touch.

8. Share your story. Post your comment here at this blog.

Thursday, August 2, 2012


A new statewide poll conducted in Maryland by Hart Research Associates finds the marriage equality ballot initiative to be in a very strong position to pass in November. From July 24 to 28, 2012, 504 likely voters were interviewed statewide, as well as 515 African-American likely voters statewide. (The margin of error for each survey is ± 4.5 percentage points).

In the trial heat for the referendum vote, 54% of Marylanders say they would vote for  the law that allows gay and lesbian couples to legally marry, while 40% say they will vote against  this law. 

This 14-point support margin is a marked improvement over the eight points we measured this past March (51% vote for, 43% vote against).

In addition to the 54% majority who would vote FOR marriage equality, we are also encouraged by the growing INTENSITY among supporters.

Strong “FOR” support is now 43%, strong 
“AGAINST” is 35%—an eight-point advantage for marriage equality. 

Previous polling, even those finding marriage equality with a lead, show a more EVEN divide between strong FOR and strongAGAINST voters—in March of this year it was 39% strongly for, 38% strongly against.

In a separate survey question, we asked Marylanders the importance of themarriage equality referendum. 

It is notable that among the near-majority of Maryland voters who rate the issue as EXTREMELY important, 66% would vote FOR marriage equality and just 33% would vote AGAINST.

In the subgroup analysis of the referendum vote, support for the referendum hasincreased among both white and African-American voters. 

White voters went from favoring the referendum by 11 points in March (53% to 42%) to favoring it by 13 points today (54% to 41%); 
African-American voters went from opposing the referendum by nine points (40% to 49%) to being evenly divided between support and opposition today (44% to 45%).


Maryland Marriage Equality Poll Results - Aug. 2, 2012

Governor O'Malley: “ . . . the people of our state are supportive of protecting religious freedom and human dignity"

From this posting by the New York Times' By FRANK BRUNI:

[. . .]

"Martin O’Malley, the Democratic governor of Maryland, said on the phone last night [Aug 1 2012], that he expected Marylanders would indeed validate [Maryland's Civil Marriage Protection law], which he not only signed but campaigned vigorously for." 

"All along O’Malley sagely framed the issue not only in terms of basic human rights but also in terms of family values: specifically, the legal safeguards afforded children of same-sex couples, whose status as 'married' would be a force for stability."

Governor O'Malley: 
“I believe that the people of our state are supportive of protecting religious freedom and human dignity and protecting every child’s home equally under the law.”

"A new poll of Maryland voters, who will get to decide in November whether to overrule recently signed legislation establishing same-sex marriage in the state, shows that 54 percent favor the law, while 40 percent oppose it. These findings, by Hart Research Associates, will be released publicly later today [. . .].

"I’ve been watching this issue for years now, and I’ve never seen the pro-marriage-equality forces as determined and organized as they are now."

"It’s a big moment for them. It’s a big moment for all of us who believe that it’s only just and only fair for the law to recognize fully the unions of two men or two women who have a loving commitment to each other and aren’t doing anybody else one iota of harm."

Good news for Gay Marriage in Maryland -

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

August 1, 2012 - Women’s Preventive Services in the Affordable Care Act

Women’s Preventive Services in the Affordable Care Act: What’s New as of August 1, 2012?

The National Women's Law Center has produced a valuable fact sheet summarizing which preventive services for women will improve on August 1, 2012. (See the link, above or the source at the bottom of this post.)

The health care law makes preventive care more accessible and affordable to millions of Americans. This is especially important to women, who are more likely than men to go without necessary health care, including preventive care, because of cost. 

[. . .]

As of August 1, 2012, all new health plans must cover a range of women’s preventive services without cost sharing. These services have been identified by the Institute of Medicine and endorsed by the Health Resources and Services Administration. They include:

(1) Breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling;

(2) Screening and counseling for interpersonal and domestic violence;

(3) Screening for gestational diabetes;

(4) DNA testing for high-risk strains of HPV;

(5) Counseling regarding sexually transmitted infections, including HIV;

(6) Screening for HIV;

(7) Contraceptive methods and counseling; and

(8) Well woman visits.

What other preventive services are already covered under the law?
All new health insurance plans must cover, without cost-sharing, preventive services derived from four sets of expert recommendations: (1) services given an “A” or “B” recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force; (2) all vaccinations recommended by the Center for Disease Control’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices; (3) a set of evidence-based services for infants, children, and adolescents based on guidelines developed by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Department of Health and Human Services; and (4) as noted above, a set of additional evidence-based preventive services for women recommended by the Institute of Medicine and supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendations include a number of preventive services that are of critical importance for women, including:

(1) Mammograms every 1-2 years for women over 40;

(2) Cervical cancer screening;

(3) Smoking and alcohol cessation programs for adults;

(4) A wide range of prenatal screenings and tests;

(5) Diabetes and blood pressure screening and counseling; and

(6) Depression screening for adolescents and adults.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices includes a number of vaccines important to women, including vaccines for HPV, the flu, and Hepatitis, among others.

Does this mean I won’t have to pay anything for preventive services?
You will be able to get the included preventive services at no cost to you. While some plans previously covered preventive services with no cost sharing requirements, many only paid a portion of the cost, while the patient would have to pay a co-payment or co-insurance. Now, the full range of services will be fully covered by insurance plans and you will not need to make a separate payment to your doctor or pharmacy.

Won’t this make my monthly premiums go up?
While we can’t say for certain, it is unlikely. There is significant evidence that many of the preventive services included on this list, such as tobacco cessation, obesity reduction services, immunizations and contraceptives, are cost-saving.

When do these new requirements take effect?
Many private insurance plans are already required to provide some of the preventive services without cost sharing—those recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, and the American Academy of Pediatrics. All new plans will be required to cover the additional Women’s Preventive Services beginning August 1, 2012, but since most plan changes take effect at the beginning of a new plan year, the requirements will be in effect for most [EXISTING] plans on January 1, 2013. [NOTE:]School health plans, which often begin their health plan years around the beginning of the school year, will see the benefits of the August 1st start date.

I get health insurance through my employer, how do I know if my plan is new and if these requirements apply to my plan?

Health plans that existed before the health care law are considered “grandfathered” into the new system. Grandfathered plans don’t have to follow the new preventive services coverage rules. This means that the plan can continue to operate just as it has until it makes significant changes to the plan. These changes include: cutting benefits significantly; increasing co-insurance, co-payments, or deductibles or out-of-pocket limits by certain amounts; decreasing premium contributions by more than 5%; or, adding or lowering annual limits.

Un-grandfathered plans are group health plans created after March 23, 2010, group health plans that have implemented significant changes, or individual plans purchased after that date, which is when the health care law was signed by the President. All un-grandfathered private health plans have to follow the new preventive health services coverage and cost-sharing rules. When you hear that “all new health plans” have to cover these services, it means that all “un-grandfathered” plans must cover them.

Will my plan ever become “un-grandfathered” and have to follow the new rule?

Yes. A survey found that 90% of all large U.S. companies expect that their health plans will lose grandfathered status by 2014. Eventually all plans will lose their grandfathered status and distinctions between the two types of plans will disappear. At that point, all plans will cover these important preventive health services without cost sharing.

What about women on Medicaid?
Many states already cover a wide range of preventive services for Medicaid recipients with nominal or no co-pays. While existing Medicaid plans won’t be required to cover these services without co-payments, the health care reform law provides a financial incentive for states to do so. The health care law also expands the group of people who are eligible for Medicaid and requires that this new group of Medicaid enrollees have access to the preventive health services, including the full range of contraceptive coverage, without cost sharing. This means that some women on Medicaid in some states may have access to these benefits, but women in other states may not.

What about women who are students and enrolled in a student health plan?
The new provisions apply to both group and individual health insurance. Student health plans are considered a type of individual health insurance, and therefore must generally comply with the preventive health services requirement and cover these services without cost-sharing. However, if you joined your student health plan before enactment of the Affordable Care Act (March 23, 2010) it may still be grandfathered and therefore need not comply with this requirement. Other plans excepted from this requirement are self-funded student health plans.

I’ve heard about something called the essential health benefits. How are they different from this preventive health services requirement?
Under the health care law, health plans in the individual and small group markers will be required to provide coverage for 10 categories of care, such as maternity and newborn care, and rehabilitative and habilitative care, which the law calls “essential health benefits.” Because all of these plans will cover services in these 10 categories, consumers can be sure that the plan they choose will at least provide this minimum coverage and it will be easier for consumers to compare plans. The Administration has made clear that the preventive services that require coverage without cost sharing are part of the essential health benefits category referred to as “preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management."

Women’s Preventive Services in the Affordable Care Act: What’s New as of August 1, 2012? | National Women's Law Center - July 25, 2012

"Founded to Alleviate the Pain Caused by Bias, the Knights of Columbus Now Promotes Discrimination"

The following comments are from an article written by a former vice-president of the Knights of Columbus insurance division. The article appeared in the PORTLAND PRESS HERALD, July 30, 2012

Maine Voices: Catholic group's anti-gay marriage effort contradicts its history

Founded to alleviate the pain caused by bias, the Knights of Columbus now promotes discrimination.

North Waterboro, Maine
"From 2008 to 2010, the Knights of Columbus has donated more than $3 million to weaken the stability and security of gay and lesbian families by funding campaigns to deny same-sex couples the freedom to marry. I urge the Knights of Columbus to remember its history and its pro-family principles and to stop funding campaigns that write discrimination into the laws of Maine and other states."
"I am the proud father of seven wonderful sons, the youngest of whom is gay. I have enjoyed nothing more than to watch them all grow into the men, the husbands, the fathers and even the Knights they have become."
"I was saddened when I realized how much my youngest struggled to reconcile his Catholic heritage with being born gay. I struggled as well, but it was through love that I accepted and embraced him. This struggle made me a better man and father, and I will be forever grateful for that."
"I am extremely proud of the happy young man he has become and look forward to the day when I can celebrate his marriage just as I have the marriages of his older brothers."
"For 11 years, I worked for the Knights of Columbus, and before my retirement I was a vice president of the organization's insurance division."
[. . .]
I was and still am deeply proud to see the fruits of our hard work change this world for the better. This is why I was so disheartened to learn that millions of dollars raised through our insurance programs for charity were being used to fund discriminatory political campaigns.
"In 2009, the Knights of Columbus was the third-largest donor in the drive to repeal marriage equality here in Maine. The Knights of Columbus has donated more than $1 million to the National Organization for Marriage, which is now in its third year of investigation by Maine's ethics commission for allegedly violating the state's campaign-finance disclosure laws."
[. . .]
"It is certainly within the scope of the mission of the Knights of Columbus to uphold the teaching of the Catholic Church regarding marriage as an example of sacrificial love. It is also within the rights and mission of the Knights of Columbus to present in a positive light a traditional view of marriage as we have known it."
"However, we should all guard against supporting political initiatives that institutionalize discrimination in any form." 
[. . .] 
"With thoughts of my son and his struggle, I will be voting for the stability and security of all Maine families by voting for marriage equality on Nov. 6."
"States were wrong to allow discrimination against Catholic families in the 19th century, and they are wrong to discriminate against same-sex families now."
"I strongly urge the Knights of Columbus to continue its blessed tradition of charity and not divert any more of its charitable funds toward the fight against marriage equality here in Maine or anywhere else in the United States."


Maine Voices: Catholic group's anti-gay marriage effort contradicts its history | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

BONDINGS 2.0: Knights’ Work Against Marriage Equality Tarnishes Their Catholic Tradition